Your Questions About Investing In Martin Guitars

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Daniel asks…

In you opinion, whats the BEST brand of acoustic guitars?????

I know im repetitive with my questions but today someone new might answer this question and I can get more opinions. etc

Justin answers:

Someone new I am!

Obviously you understand that it is TOTALLY a matter of opinion, but when I finally invested in a premium guitar, I considered three brands. They were Gibson, Martin and Taylor. The Taylor won hands down in ALL of my tests, and to this day, I know I made the right decision.

There are some major differences between the three brands, among them, tone and playability. As far as actual construction goes, they all rate well, although some complain about the recent quality of Gibson acoustic guitars. Tonewise, they are all different. Here is where your personal tastes come into play.

Playability is probably where I found the most difference between the three. The Martin and Gibson were very similar, but the Taylor felt like a dream come true. As a player of over 45 years, my hands have suffered and I need very low action and prefer a fast neck. For the jazz fingerstyle music I play, the Taylor is perfect. I had to work too hard on both the Marin and the Gibson.

Keep in mind there are hundreds of professional-level guitars out there, and one could not even begin to try them all.

For constant information on all brands of acoustic guitars, I highly recommend Acoustic Guitar Magazine. It not only provides excellent reviews of products, but contains advertising for many different luthiers and guitar manufacturers. Issues also contain lessons, repair techniques, spotlight artists and typically, six songs in both tab and standard notation. Check it out:

http://www.acousticguitar.com/

And for even more info, here if their forum. It is well worth joining.

Http://www.acousticguitar.com/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi

Hope this helpful, good luck!

Kabum

Thomas asks…

I am looking to buy a guitar and want to know what size to buy plz give me a site that shows me height vs size?

Looking for website that can compare height with size of guitar
Acoustic guitar I am maybe 5ft 5-8 in not sure

Justin answers:

Guitars are selected for sound and quality, not size. If you were a child, you might look for a 3/4 guitar that has a reduced size to accomodate the child’s smaller hands. As an adult, you can play any size guitar.

Acoustic guitars have thicker bodies due to the hollow interior, which determines the sound.

Cheap guitars are very difficult to play due to inferior construction. For example, if the neck does not have a truss rod, it will warp, casting the strings too high off the neck, making it very difficult to press the string to the fretboard. Buying and playing an inferior instrument is not conducive to learning the instrument. Instead, it would add enough frustration to ruin your experience, causing you to give up.

You are better off saving for a higher end acoustic guitar, such as a Martin guitar. The Martin’s are known for quality. They have a rich sound. And the brandname retains it’s value, so when you are ready to invest in an even better model, you’ll be able to sell the old one and put the $ towards the new one.

Don’t choose via internet. Go into a reputable music store and try them out. Just sit and play for awhile. Music stores are used to that … Musicians who come in and just play the instruments, without purchasing. It’s how the musician decides if that’s the one for them.

John asks…

High quality guitar strings ?

I was thinking in investing in some. Do they really make a difference. I have a set of $6 ones that get the job done, but im not sure if its my guitar, but it sounds really “metally”. any opinions would be great thanks.

play on
yeah i should have probably mentioned im playing on an accoustic

Justin answers:

Hi Brodeur

You should buy Guild, Martin, d’addario etc.. Or whatever as long as they are bronze strings. If you really want a higher end string, get the copper bronze strings. They have an awesome sound on any guitar but are slightly more expensive.

David asks…

What kind of acoustic guitar should I buy?

I have played for about 5 years on a Dean, but I think she’s about had it. I am looking for something new and nice. I would loooove to have a Taylor, but that just isn’t possible right now. What are some other good brands? Something around $500.

Justin answers:

Musicians Friend sells Martin guitars around $500, but for that kind of money there are a few things to look at first:

1. Buy solid wood. You could get a cheap laminate acoustic/electric with a built in tuner and a great sparkly finish, but it could sound like junk because it is made with laminated sides, back and top. $500 WILL get you a solid top, back, and sides acoustic. They’re lighter, sound better, and age better.

2. New acoustic guitars are EXPENSIVE. You can find a fine, aged used acoustic in good shape worth more, but sold for less because it won’t have the original hang tags. But if you buy used, go through a reputable shop with an in-store warrantee – that way, if anything goes wrong you won’t be swindled by a stranger.

3. Take your time! Don’t rush out and buy the first nice guitar you find. Play all ofthem, even those over and under your budget. If you;re investing that much money, then you better like it.

Also, new Taylor guitars are OVERRATED. I owned a late ’90s Taylor 410, and it was a fine guitar. But I bought it for $350 used, and sold it for around $400 two years later. Now, a 410 costs over a grand – and that is just because of the name. A Guild, Martin, or upper-end Takamine beats out a Taylor in my book any day.

I’d stay away from the Martin “X” series; I’ve played regular Martins for the same price that are MUCH nicer. Check out the 15 series; I love ’em.

Have fun!

Robert asks…

What’s better? An acoustic/electric Guitar or just acoustic guitar?

Are acoustic/electric guitars really like a hybrid? Does it sound like a regular electric rock guitar if it’s plugged into an amp? Does it compare to a regular electric guitar? Is it the best of both worlds?

Justin answers:

This depends on how it is set up. An acoustic electric with a pickup glued under the bridge (transducer) or with coils underneath the strings like an electric guitar, will not pick up the sound of the instrument. It will simply pick up the vibrations of the strings. An Acoustic Electric guitar with a condenser type pickup, or with a microphone built into the body of the guitar, will pick up the sound of the instrument, but you will have more trouble with feedback. The thing about most acoustic electric guitars these days is they have three to four bands of equalization built into the pre-amp. (Pre amplifier) This means that you can get a wide enough variety of sounds to recreate the sound you really want. If anything else is required, you can use an effects pedal, effects rack, or modeling cabinet. The only thing that the electric portion of the acoustic electric gives you, is the ability to plug into an amp or public address (P.A.) system without using an external microphone. This can be really handy if the instrument is set up properly, since you can get more volume without feedback or distortion, and as I said before, that EQ comes in rela handy as well.

The other thing that makes an acoustic electric worth considering, is that the electronics are effectively built into the guitar. This makes the guitar more aesthetically pleasing, and means the electronics are less likely to fall out, get pulled or broken, or get misaligned during a performance. I use an Ovation Adamas for some performances, and a strictly acoustic guitar for others. The Adamas is very stable, very live and active, and it has a three band EQ (older model) The acoustic has nylon strings, was purchased in East Berlin before the wall came down,and has a tone that is very attuned to my ear and playing style. It depends on the song, the performance requirement, and the amplification available (sometimes none at all) but I have never been unhappy with either instrument. I have an old Yamaha FG-75 that I had a transducer installed into. It has no pre-amp and no control whatsoever. With the proper setup it still works, but I don’t think I have actually played out with it for over ten years. I still use it at home quite a bit, as a practice guitar, but I don’t plug it in for that.

A luthier in town, Baron Martin (he runs a shop called Frets and Necks in El Paso) installs pickups into acoustic guitars. He believes in the method by which you install an individual pickup under each string. I played a backpacker (a practice guitar made by Martin) with his setup and was amazed at the results. Just remember that all setups are not the same. Plug it in and make sure the sound is what you want before you invest your hard earned sheckels to liberate your new best friend.

Charles asks…

What is the best Acoustic Guitar for beginners?

Justin answers:

Oscar Schmidt.

Http://www.oscarschmidt.com/products/acoustics/

I started on one of these, and they are inexpensive, have a really nice sound, and are made well. My next guitar was a Washburn (the company who makes Oscar Schmidt guitars). Washburn acoustics are also very nice and relatively cheap. The action is nice on both the Schmidts and Washburns.

My guitars now are Martins, which are the best acoustic guitars ever made. Period. I’ve heard $1,000 Martins blow $3,000 Gibsons out of the water. They are excellent if you can afford one, but I think they are a little too pricey for someone who is just starting out. Wait until you have been playing for a while to invest a large amount of money in an instrument. Then you will know what sound and feel you are looking for.

Stay away from starter Fenders and Gibsons. They are horribly made, fall apart, and generally sound like crap. Gibson’s cheap brand is Maestro. Starcasters and Squiers are the cheap Fenders. Although, if you do decide to go with one of the two, Fender starters have a much nicer sound than the Gibsons. I still wouldn’t recommend them though.

Another brand to look into is Mitchell. A lot of them have a really nice sound for being cheaper. I never owned one, but the guitar store I worked at had a lot of them in stock. Once they were tuned and the strings were changed, they were really pretty.

Http://www.mitchellguitars.com/products/index.cfm?product=MD100S

Make sure you check the instrument out in person. Don’t blindly buy online. Even if you find a good deal online, find an in person dealer to check out the guitar. If you like it, and the price online is better, and the dealer won’t match it (make sure you ask), then go ahead and buy online.

It’s really important that your instrument is comfortable and sounds good to you. But be aware, as your skills grow, you will eventually outgrow your instrument. I loved my beginner guitars, and still own them, but as I became a better player and developed a better ear, it became easier for me to distinguish the difference in sound quality, and I had to upgrade. But I know that the Schmidts and Mitchells still sound good to me today, so they should be a safe bet to take you through your beginning to intermediate phase.

Good luck with your search!

Also, immediately change the strings on any guitar you buy. The floor model strings are usually worn out and sound a lot worse than a new set of strings will. It’s amazing what a difference a nice set of strings will make, so don’t cheap out on those.

Elixirs are kind of pricey, but really pretty sounding. I go Custom Light on all of my strings.

Http://www.elixirstrings.com/products/product_acoustic.html

D’addario’s are also really nice, and I believe a little bit cheaper.

Http://store.daddario.com/category/144846?language_id=1&currency_id=1

William asks…

What type of guitars keep their value price the most so that when I sell them I don’t lose much $$?

Justin answers:

That really depends because the used guitar market is fickle. Guitar picker is right about acoustics. The upper line Martin’s and Gibson’s and some of the Taylors will hold their value and even appreciate in value for older, pristine condition models. As far as electrics go, that can be a very fickle market indeed. A top of the line Fender Stratocaster may hold it’s value pretty well but it all depends on the specific model and what is hot in the market right now. Currently the rage is reissues of older classic instruments. A Gibson Les Paul custom reissue like the classic 59 model will definitely hold its value very well. But your basic Les Paul standard will not see the same long term rate of depreciation.
Gretsch is one of those makers that are hot one week and not the next. These are instruments that are amazingly well made guitars but not always in demand like the more well known instruments.
The Gibson ES 335 is a great example of an excellent guitar that can vary widely in the resale value. To a collector the guitar may be worth a lot of money. But since there is not a great demand for them you can see a beautiful instrument like this that sells new for over $2000, go for as little as $600! (I’ve seen it happen more than once!)
A general rule of thumb is that a top end name brand will retain more value than a mid range instrument. Fender Stratocasters and Gibson Les Pauls will retain value much longer than an Ibanez or a Jackson. They are not necessarily better guitars, but they are better investments.
You really need to think about what your goal is for the instrument. If you are looking for a top notch playing instrument that has the sound and features that you need than you may wish to buy a newer instrument like an Ibanez or an ESP. These are great guitars and will retain a fair portion of their original value if kept in great condition. However, if your goal is to simply “invest” in guitars that retain a higher market value than you need to go with those well established makers that have instruments that have been around for several decades.

Paul asks…

is it worth it to fix up my martin guitar?

So it is beat up and has a thin crack in the middle of it going from the base all the lay under the bridge to the end, but was a really nice guitar when bought
Also I have a show coming up and its the only guitar I have

Justin answers:

If its a true Martin, yes, its always worth it so fix it up. If its a lower level Martin like a Sigma, it depends on its overall condition and the cost of the fix.
The crack in your guitar may not be so bad and may be so bad. You are going to have to take this to a repairman. The thing is, if that crack went under the bridge, a good repair SHOULD remove the bridge and glue the entire crack and then reinstall the bridge. However, this is going to be a moderate repair (around $150-$200). The repairman will use a mirror to look inside the guitar and see if the crack has gone through the wood all the way and at what point it stops on the inside. Now, you can just glue the face of the guitar without removing the bridge. It will still be good and save you some cash to eliminate the bridge reinstallation. In doing so, the tech or yourself if you feel so inclined will need to clamp the guitar (bottom side and top side) and close them together. You need a very large clamp to do this, or vice. I have made my own for about $15 in parts. Then you need to use wood glue, the recommended glue for this repair is Franklins Tite Bond, its about $10 at Home Depot or Lowes. Its easy to work with and water based. You or the tech will want to dampen the wood inside the body with water and then put some glue in the crack. Then clamp the face closed, wipe away excess and let it cure for 24 hours. Thats it… It will hold.
Being that this is a Martin, if its a higher end Martin, I would say, definitely let a tech do this so you get the best finished job possible. Do note, you will always see a line where the crack was. Unless he does a drop fill (lacquer) finish (will add to the cost too) you will probably always feel a slight bump where the crack was. That crack is from humidity levels and is common amongst acoustics. You should invest in 2 things, a guitar humidifier and a second acoustic to gig with. This second option of a repair should cost around $50 or so. In either case, the tech will probably try to sell you a setup as well. You don’t really need one, and you don’t even need to change strings for this repair, as long as its not past the bridge.
If you are looking for some good cheap acoustics, you can look into Fender, Yamaha or Ibanez electric acoustics. For between $300 and $500, you can get a hell of a guitar. Also, if you look at some used acoustics, you will get a better bang for your buck. I never buy new acoustics. Most acoustics have issues (if they will ever have issues) in the first 3 years because the wood is still drying and glue is settling.
Best of luck with the repair.

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